Friday, December 14, 2012
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Some even say that she has a split personality, because at times she is cold and hard as year-old ice cream and just sits back and stares and stares and stares, while at other times, she is a lit firecracker and only the slightest word or touch will set her off.
Anger spends her days sharpening knives at the local hardware store. All day, every day, grinding, grinding, grinding. She’s very good at what she does. She can put a long, slow edge on a knife or a quick, sharp one, but in the end, they all cut about the same.
She is meticulous about everything she hears and sees and does. She remembers every little detail and insists on bringing those little details up over and over again. She definitely never forgets a wrong, perceived or real. She likes truth but insists that the truth be her own truth. She has no room for anyone else’s point of view.
Sad to say, Anger’s never been very popular. Nobody wants to see Anger drive up to the house, especially right before dinner. All the same, she seems to show up frequently, and no one is ever quite sure how she got there. Even though Anger doesn’t have many friends, Pain and Regret do follow her around and often seem to arrive just as she’s leaving.
Saturday, September 1, 2012
I really don't think I could say it any better than she does.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Lemons with Salt:
|Just looking at this is making my mouth water.|
Cheddar Cheese: (this one didn't really get edited)
|Where are the saltine crackers?|
|Hmmm...I think I'll pass....|
As someone who teaches about memories and writing, I am fully aware that some people say that food memories are some of the strongest. If this really is the case, then I should probably stay far, far, away from pecan sandies. Pecan sandies aren’t as common now as they once were, but for you who are uninitiated, they are strange, hard, tasteless little cookies made by those infamous Keebler elves. At some point in my hazy elementary years, I came down with a severe case of strep throat. My parents didn’t believe in doctors, mainly because we didn’t have medical insurance, so they didn’t take me in to see one until I was nearly done for. By that time, I could barely open my mouth, and I was mildly delirious with a high fever. The doctor stood about ten feet away as he looked at my throat, which by now was as white as cotton. It didn’t take him long to diagnose strep. He sent me home with an antibiotic. My sweet mom thought food made everything better, so on the way home, as she filled the prescription, she purchased a box of pecan sandies. For reasons only known to my seven or eight year old self, I ate several and then promptly threw up. That was the last food I had for several days, as I was relegated to laying in bed and drooling into a cup for the next 48 hours. All I kept thinking about was the terrible taste of those pecan sandies, both going down and coming up. To this day, I shudder when I see that ubiquitous yellow package sitting on a grocery shelf. I’m old enough now to know that food can make you feel better, but not when you are too sick to enjoy it. So, when my own kids are sick, I bring them books and video games instead of food, and we all stay much happier.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Monday, August 6, 2012
I've been through a lot of camping and outdoorsy stuff throughout my life. Sometimes it's really fun and a good experience, other times it only serves to be a stressful and unsatisfying experience devoid of any fun or enjoyment. This year's youth conference would not be one that I would enjoy.
First of all, I've been having a hard time sleeping this week, and it's hard enough to sleep in a tent already. I would have to spend 2 nights in an uncomfortable position for around 8-10 hours while staring at the ceiling of my tent. I'd be very tired all throughout the day with the sun bearing down on me.
Second, while I can wear white shirts for about 3-4 hours, after a while it becomes unbearable. White shirts make me sweat. Badly. Short sleeved shirts are bearable but having to walk around with a white sleeve shirt all day without changing clothes would be torture.
Third and probably most important, there's no real reward behind doing any of this, at least not that I'm interested in. In other campouts you get to hike to the top of a mountain, explore a narrow submerged canyon, or find a waterfall. In this campout you just wander around on a patch of dirt and meet people that don't even matter to you because you'll hardly ever see them again because you go to a different school. If I wanted to have fun with other people on a campout I'd rather have it be spontaneous and unorganized so you can actually hang out instead of doing things like "square dancing." The only thing that this trek promises is that it will "build character," which seems to be tagged on to anything that is either boring, painful, or uncomfortable. If I wanted more character, it seems like I'd get it just as easily by putting my hand on a hot stove, locking myself in a box for 24 hours, or pouring citrus into my eyes.
I'm doing something that I normally wouldn't do (writing a 5 paragraph essay) in order to illustrate how much I think it would be a bad idea for me to go, so don't shrug this email off. I'll look forward to your response.
Well, after reading (and laughing) the BHW and I came up with this response:
I've been through a lot of experiences in my life, too, and I can tell you that often those that don't seem like they will be a lot of fun are usually the ones that end up teaching me the best lessons. I think a lot of it has to do with attitude.
You may not know this, but there is a chemical in your body called melatonin that helps tell your body when to go to sleep. Your body releases melatonin when you've been up for about 16 hours, when it gets dark, and especially when you have a set time to go to bed every night. That's why it's so important for you and your health to get a healthy 8-10 hours of sleep from 10-11 PM on every night. If not, you are messing with your body's natural melatonin cycle, and that's not good. Just something to keep in mind.
Sweat is never fun at the best of times. I used to sweat so much that I started using a special kind of deodorant that keeps me from sweating at all. Period. If you are interested, you may want to ask me about it.
I think that hiking and trekking and even square dancing can be very fun, but it is always more fun when you are doing it with friends. Are you still planning on doing the Camp Halfblood with Chandler? When is all that happening?
In short, I am okay with you not going on the trek. I am not okay with you sleeping your summer away and sleeping through church. Do you think you could try to clean up some of those bad habits that you've got yourself into? And, if you are not going on the trek, can you please call your leaders and let them know? Also, you should have your sister Megan write us a five paragraph essay and tell us how her job search is coming. If it is anywhere near as entertaining as yours is, I'm sure it will be the highlight of our day.
Love, Mom with Dad's approval
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Monday, May 21, 2012
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Friday, May 18, 2012
I think it's probably time for a major overhaul of my curriculum to get me out of my doldrums. We recently read Write Like This by Kelly Gallagher for the CUWP book group, and it really got me thinking about what I'm having my students write and why. I loved what Kelly said in the book about a fantasy meeting with a former student years from now:
"Excitedly, she blurts out: 'Oh, it is so good to see you! I was hoping to run into you some day so that I can tell you that I am still writing essays that analyze the author's use of tone. I keep a Tone Journal at home, and I apply that skill you taught me twenty years ago in the tenth grade to everything I read today! Let's have lunch some day so I can share all the essays I have written recognizing the author's tone found in all the books I have read since high school graduation."Instead, he says he'd rather hear about the blog they're writing, or the letter they've sent to every member of congress about some issue.
Anyway, I am going to redo my curriculum so that we're doing a lot more real world writing. For example, this year I had my students write sonnets. Dumb idea. It was painful for them to do and painful for me to read.
One of my goals for this summer (and hopefully to continue through the school year next year) is to read and USE one professional book a month. Actually, maybe I'll try for two a month over the summer. I have quite a few that look like they'd be very helpful if I actually read them. Ha.
Anyway, I have one more week with this particular crop of kids, and I hope they've taken away at least one useful thing from my class this year. They did do spectacularly well on their end of level tests, and that seems to be all that our school really worries about as far as whether I'm a good teacher or not. For myself, I'd like to think the bar is a bit higher.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Saturday, April 7, 2012
This is one of our divider pages that further explains our theme:
Here is a shot that shows one of the fun features we used throughout--eyes with page numbers.
And we tried to do a modular, sequential book with cutout highlights, etc., so here are some examples:
Monday, March 26, 2012
Monday, March 19, 2012
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
I love the references to Ireland -- that's why I think it will work so well.
Monday, March 12, 2012
I am ______________
Don't judge me before you know me.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Friday, March 2, 2012
As I was searching through my renaissance files, I rediscovered this little piece of poetry I penned in 2008 in response to The Passionate Shepherd to His Love.
(Hey, I'm just trying to keep up with Sir Walter Raleigh!)
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Verissimo Toste, an Oxford Teacher Trainer, talks about the best way to build extensive reading into your normal routine for best results:
Friday, January 13, 2012
It's amazing and kind of sad what a few seizures and a shoulder injury can do to your productivity. I feel like I've been sort of sliding along this year, just doing, and not really reflecting or motivating myself or my students, sadly.
Well, I just watched an hour long webcast about Flipping a Classroom that has made me think and got me excited about teaching again. I think there are a lot of things I can do with this. I think it would really help my students if they were writing in the classroom with me there to help them and doing some of the more mundane things at home. So...I am giving my first flip assignment today.
Flipping a classroom is when you move direct instruction and other things that don't require student interaction into the "homework" time and move the homework into class time, so the teacher can be the expert in the room and interact with the students and see how they are doing. It reminds me of what Penny Kittle talks about in Write Beside Them.